City Desk

Huffington Post Sinks to New Low

Elliot Spitzer chats up a reporter about his new gig at Slate, and the above is what Huffington Post's front page editor comes up with for a visual? Because if it weren't for that picture of Ashley Alexandra Dupré, Huff Po's enlightened readers would have had no idea who the fuck Elliot Spitzer was? (The defense that HuffPo is jabbing Spitzer and/or Slate for the former's decision to work at a magazine that heralded his downfall doesn't hold water, seeing as no one at HuffPo actually wrote about the dynamics of that relationship–then again, no one at HuffPo writes about anything.)

Stunts like the Spitzer picture should give dead-tree journos everywhere pause. If this is what it takes to be a dominant leader in page views–posting tacky Photoshop pictures and "breaking" news before it happens–maybe a million eyes just aren't worth it.

Then again, plenty of places manage to sustain high levels of traffic without stooping to HuffPo's level, so maybe the question is: How bad do we want to be on top of the web-garbage pile?

Editor's note: An ill-advised paragraph has been deleted from the original post.

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  • Amanda Hess

    Oh, please. The Huffington Post has been assembling sensational photographs/headlines/scare quotes from the outset to make the Internets go clicky clicky, and this is nothing new. This post is like saying, "I can't believe Mike Riggs said something about Florida/libertarianism/screamo again" or "I can't believe Mike Riggs is eating pancakes with his hands."

    Plus, Gawker totally beat them to this.

  • Mike Riggs

    Is "sensational" code for irresponsible?

  • Ryan Grim

    And God forbid that an outlet "anticipate" -- righteous scare quotes in the original -- a news event and prepackage its display so that it can move quickly when the news breaks. Would want any planning ahead. And you certainly place no premium on speed, since this post is about 3 years behind, as Hess points out.

  • Ryan Grim

    *Wouldn't want

  • Darrow Montgomery

    Pancake habits should be off limits...

  • Amanda Hess

    I'm still not sure what's irresponsible about this. Governor loses seat because of prostitution scandal; governor makes comment about losing seat because of prostitution scandal at bar called "Happy Ending"; blogs post picture of governor and woman involved in prostitution scandal. This whole little anecdote is just a joke anyway, from the perspective of Spitzer, the reporter he spoke to, and the aggregators. Ha, ha. Everybody wins!

    Claiming that another news outlet is "unethical" because of its preparedness, on the other hand, is really reaching. They write obituaries for old people, don't they?

  • Mike Riggs

    1.) The picture had nothing to do with the articles they aggregated.

    2.) They wait to publish said obits until the people actually die. (As opposed to publishing a mini obit after an anonymous source says, "I think the person could die at any minute.")

  • Ryan Grim

    Mike, you've gone totally off the rails, dude. How does the prostitute have nothing to do with the story? His involvement with her is the reason he is no longer governor and now leading a life that "sucks." Like it or not, the fall of the New York gov and his attempts at rehabilitation are news. If you don't want it served up like HuffPo serves it, then stick with But there you won't get the juicy "It sucks" quote, which I found amusing.

    On your second point: wha? The source here is Spitzer himself. I don't follow...

  • Mike Riggs

    The second point was in response to Hess' comment: "They write obituaries for old people, don’t they?"

    The quote didn't bother me, it was the picture of Dupre--she's background info, sure, but what's the point of pushing that image when Spitzer's experience with Slate has nothing to do with her specifically? Of course he'd still be governor if he hadn't been caught funneling money to a sex worker, but he didn't bring her up, and the interviewer didn't bring her up. She's not the news, so why is she the lead photo?

  • Amanda Hess

    The day that news orgs are forced to stop printing wild speculation about possible future events is the day that John McLaughlin meets his untimely end at the hands of the Zombie corpse of Richard Nixon. Luckily, his obsessively-polished obit is close at hand in my desk drawer, right underneath Eleanor Clift's political Ouija Board.